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Thread: Eminent Domain, Corporate Welfare, and JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!

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    Eminent Domain, Corporate Welfare, and JOBS! JOBS! JOBS!

    "More than 30 years ago Hamtramck, Michigan, was desperate for a GM plant, so desperate that the government used eminent domain to tear down a neighborhood. Today, we look back at how that plant got built — and what happened when the work slowed down."

    -- NPR "Marketplace" show, 8/14/19.

    The whole program is at https://podcasts.google.com/?feed=aH...=1565835835248 -- the GM plant feature begins at about 17:00 minutes in.

    The story also is at https://www.marketplace.org/2019/08/...oits-poletown/

    In short, GM was given special tax benefits, and the existing community bulldozed, to create "jobs! jobs! jobs!" for auto workers, who would be hired at this new GM plant. To create these jobs they used eminent domain to bulldoze 1,500 homes, 144 businesses, 16 churches and a hospital.


    All for the sake of "life and jobs"?

    The mayor of Detroit said this was a good trade-off: “When you have to strike a balance, you have to strike a balance in favor of life and jobs as opposed to a slow death,” Young said. “Are the jobs proposed for the city of Detroit and General Motors in the public interest? I say the answer to that question is yes.”

    For a while there were 3,000 new jobs from the deal, which then declined to 800. And now the plant is scheduled to be closed.

    What went wrong? It appears now that everyone regrets this deal and that it was not "in the public interest" after all, to destroy that earlier community in return for about 40 years of GM factory jobs.


    Is "eminent domain" to blame?

    A court case against the city to stop the GM deal argued that "eminent domain" is only for "a public use" and not for "a public benefit." The "public benefit" would be the jobs GM was to provide, and resulting tax revenue to the state and the city. Whereas a legitimate "public use" would be something like a bridge or fire station or school or other construction for a public service, which should be the only purpose of an eminent domain action.

    But this lawsuit was defeated in court and GM won, and all those earlier homes and businesses had to be destroyed, in return for the expected "public benefit" of the jobs for autoworkers.

    So, what's the point?

    It's not "eminent domain" or "public benefit" which is to blame. The blame is with the

    "jobs! jobs! job! jobs! jobs! jobs!" babble.

    It is legitimate for the city to condemn property which has low tax value, in order to upgrade the area for higher-value commercial development and higher tax revenue. This has been done many times, such as for redevelopment of a blighted area. Even if it means transferring property from low-income owners to higher-income private development. The higher tax revenue to be gained is worth doing the change and relocating some low-revenue occupants. But that's not the same as "jobs! jobs! jobs! jobs! jobs!" etc. It means the new commercial interests must commit to the higher tax cost to them, in the near future. And they pay for the compensation to the displaced owners, after which they make profit, and everyone benefits from the higher tax revenue to the city.

    But what is the "jobs! jobs! jobs! jobs! jobs!" benefit (even if the "jobs" do materialize and are permanent)? Even then, this "jobs!" ideology never made any sense, except in the case where the company directly pays the higher taxes, due to its higher profit, and the "jobs" are only a side effect, or only something which happens as part of the increased production.

    So, it never makes any sense for the state to promote "jobs! jobs! jobs! jobs!" or "job creation" just for the sake of the jobs. The purpose of the economy is not "jobs! jobs! jobs!" but production to serve "CONSUMERS! CONSUMERS! CONSUMERS!" or to produce THE STUFF PEOPLE WANT, not to provide babysitting slots for job-seekers. Rather, it makes sense for the state to increase its revenue from property taxes and other legitimate sources, sometimes using eminent domain. Not to create babysitting slots to get the riff-raff off the streets, but to secure the means to pay for the legitimate public services.

    The function of businesses is not to provide babysitting slots for job-seekers, or incomes to them so they can raise their families, etc. No, their function to produce stuff, or products and services for consumers, and "jobs" might be an incidental part of that. Or then again, maybe the products and services can be produced by ROBOTS/machines with few or no extra jobs.

    So here's another example of the Bernie Sanders - Donald Trump "jobs! jobs! jobs!" fallacy, the "bring back the factories!" hysteria.


    Why does no one ever question the "jobs! jobs! jobs!" dogma?

    Why does this hysteria continue? Why do all politicians and pundits and political parties continue to run at the mouth with the "jobs! jobs! jobs!" rhetoric? Why does this blabber continue and yet no one ever explains the need for the "jobs! jobs! jobs!"? Why do we destroy neighborhoods and waste billions of dollars paying for the "jobs! jobs! jobs!" which are not needed?

    Why are Trump and Sanders and other demagogues so successful at manipulating voters and making idiots out of Americans? Who are these idiots? Why do they just keep slurping up the mindless slogans about "jobs" and FLOCK to the polls to choose who are the most eloquent "jobs! jobs! jobs!" babblers?

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    The gist of the discussion seems to be, "why do people respond positively to "jobs, jobs, jobs?".
    In the US, we have a working problem... not a job problem.. an employer problem. The number one thing people say they would like to change in their lives is their job. People are not happy in American workplaces... we work longer hours and take less vacation. There is inequity everywhere... not just gender and ethnicity based discrimination.. but cronyism and nepotism in the higher paying professions.. "fiduciary duty" laws applying to CFOs which place shareholder interests above employee interests....
    Most people complain about their jobs more than any other aspect of their lives. American culture is one of "hard work" that does not need to be so hard... but working harder somehow is more American.
    It's not about unemployment... or the need for MORE jobs... it's about being unhappy and believing that more options for work will equate to more potential happiness.
    The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence... That's my take on it.

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    The real problem is here is the delusion that a lack of jobs can be solved by incentives.

    When a place lacks jobs there's some reason companies aren't moving there to take advantage of the unemployed labor force. Until you fix those problems attempts to bring in jobs will not work very well and if you do solve them you won't need to bring in jobs, they'll come anyway.

    The use of eminent domain for job creation can make sense when the nature of the jobs requires a specific location but that's about it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lumpenproletariat View Post


    Why does no one ever question the "jobs! jobs! jobs!" dogma?
    Because:
    1. Politicians want to get elected and they know they cant without doing what their voters want.

    2. The voters want more jobs. They want more jobs because they actually want more money. And they correctly assume that it is actually easier and safer to work for a living then to steal for it.

    3. The voters want a better life style. That comes from making more money as a result of higher wages as a result of higher and higher employment.

    This stuff is pretty basic and should be easy to understand Lumpens. More employment is always in the best interest of society.

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    I lived in Detroit while this was happening. IIRC, only the northern end of the site was in Hamtramck where there was a closed GM plant. The rest of the site was in Detroit, the northern half of a neighborhood called Poletown, and at the time the plant was referred to as the Poletown plant. Perhaps that's not PC any longer...

    One of the most bizarre urban landscapes I've ever seen with a huge cleared area cluttered with junk around a huge building half chewed up with girders and stuff hanging out of it.

    Never expect empathy for workers from Lumpenetc. He's immune.

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    If "more jobs" doesn't matter, why do politicians keep getting elected by preaching the "jobs! jobs! jobs!" babble at us?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gun Nut View Post
    The gist of the discussion seems to be, "why do people respond positively to "jobs, jobs, jobs?".
    In the US, we have a working problem... not a job problem.. an employer problem. The number one thing people say they would like to change in their lives is their job. People are not happy in American workplaces... we work longer hours and take less vacation. There is inequity everywhere... not just gender and ethnicity based discrimination.. but cronyism and nepotism in the higher paying professions.. "fiduciary duty" laws applying to CFOs which place shareholder interests above employee interests....
    Most people complain about their jobs more than any other aspect of their lives. American culture is one of "hard work" that does not need to be so hard... but working harder somehow is more American.
    It's not about unemployment... or the need for MORE jobs... it's about being unhappy and believing that more options for work will equate to more potential happiness.
    You lost me. It's not about needing "more jobs" but about needing "more options for work"? What's the difference between "more jobs" and "more options for work"?

    How does an increase in auto factories or steel mills mean "more options for work"? unless it's the same as "more jobs"?

    What "more options" do people want?


    The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence... That's my take on it.
    Your points seem reasonable, mostly. Except you're saying "unemployment" or "MORE jobs" doesn't matter, and yet we have the bellowing politicians always promising us more and more "jobs! jobs! jobs!" as if there is a need for more jobs and a need to increase "employment."

    It doesn't sound to me like this is about wanting "more options" or about workers being unhappy. It sounds more like someone thinks there's a mass of rabble out there who need to be put into factory jobs to keep them out of mischief.

    And so we have Trump bringing back jobs from China, to satisfy this supposed need for jobs. And yet these jobs will now cost us more than before without giving us any increased production for consumers. I.e., the quantity of steel or autos etc. is not going to increase any more, as a result of "bringing back jobs from China," but we'll all have to pay higher prices than before, because of the increased cost of producing the stuff, e.g., the higher labor cost.

    So, what was gained by creating these jobs, or "bringing back" these jobs from China? How are we better off from this "job creation"?

    And this GM plant in Michigan, for which taxpayers and previous residents paid a huge cost, provided a few hundred "jobs" for a while, and appears now to have been an obvious net loss for the economy. What good were those 1000 or so "jobs" that society should have paid such a high cost?

    What is the point of this "job creation"? We elect these blowhards who "create" these jobs for us, but no one can explain why.

    Shouldn't someone have to explain what these jobs are being "created" for? what their value is? It seems like we're not supposed to question this "job creation," and that we're just supposed to run around mindlessly repeating these slogans and voting for the demagogues who babble them at us. Or better -- for the demagogues who are the most talented at emitting this babble. Like their speeches are an audition to demonstrate who can best perform this babbling function. And so far, Trump is beating out Bernie Sanders as the better slogan babbler. I.e., the better China-bashing, employer-bashing jobs babbler.

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    Veteran Member Deepak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lumpenproletariat View Post
    The purpose of the economy is not "jobs! jobs! jobs!" but production to serve "CONSUMERS! CONSUMERS! CONSUMERS!"
    So wait, did GM build that plant because they anticipated short term consumer demand, or were they tricked by they Mayor?

    Perhaps he held a gun to GM's collective heads and forced them to build the plant after bulldozing the neighborhood (with requisite mustache twirling)?

    This seems like you're arguing for one side of the coin but for the other. What was GM's motivation if not to build stuff people want?

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    So the purpose of your "job" is to get you off the streets, so you won't steal and plunder and pillage?

    Quote Originally Posted by RVonse View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lumpenproletariat View Post
    Why does no one ever question the "jobs! jobs! jobs!" dogma?
    Because:

    1. Politicians want to get elected and they know they can't without doing what their voters want.
    Sort of. But, they don't really have to do what their voters want -- they only have to promise it, or just utter the words voters want to hear. Because voters are satisfied to hear the words and promises, regardless what the politicians do. And also, it's easy to exploit the delusions of voters, making them think something was done, when nothing really was done, or -- what was done really went contrary to what voters wanted because the voters are so ignorant of what really happened.

    So yes, politicians are responding to the delusions of you and other voters. But no one is questioning the "jobs! jobs! jobs!" dogma. In fact, questioning this dogma would lead to reducing the delusions and causing voters to become more skeptical. So in order for the "jobs! jobs! jobs!" delusion to work for the politicians, it is necessary for this dogma not to be questioned and for voters to continue imagining that the "jobs! jobs! jobs!" blabber makes any sense.


    2. The voters want more jobs.
    What "jobs"? Any "jobs" at all? What about MAKEWORK jobs? What about "jobs" which would be done more efficiently in Asia or someplace where the production would be less costly and thus the products made available at lower prices? Don't the voters also want lower prices? When "more jobs" means higher prices, as it sometimes does, why would the voters want "more jobs" along with the higher prices and thus lower standard of living?

    The government could provide MAKEWORK jobs for everyone, either directly or by subsidizing private-sector jobs, so no one is unemployed, but the cost of that would be so high that our standard of living would be lower, not higher, in order to pay for it. Is that what voters want?


    They want more jobs because they actually want more money.
    But "more jobs" can mean LESS money, or less real income, to everyone, if those "jobs" are artificially produced by the government subsidizing them or rewarding less competitive companies in order to artificially produce those "jobs" which cost more than they produce in value produced by the workers. Such as more STEEL jobs brought back from China where that steel was produced at lower cost and thus more efficiently for American companies and consumers who need the steel produced. What good are these "more jobs" when the only result of them is to drive up the cost of steel production and thus the prices of steel products?



    The real purpose of my job:
    to get me off the streets so I don't "steal"


    And they correctly assume that it is actually easier and safer to work for a living than to steal for it.
    With this sentence you are giving the real reason for the "jobs! jobs! jobs!" hysteria: You believe that Americans who don't have these artificial "jobs" provided for them will resort to CRIME. You believe the "unemployed" are a mass of pillagers who are ready to go on a rampage of plunder if we don't put them into factory "jobs" to keep them out of mischief.

    You're proving my point that the whole purpose of Trump's "jobs" is to provide babysitting slots to put the rabble into in order to get them off the streets so they don't turn into a plundering and pillaging mob.

    You are saying in effect that the whole purpose of saving your job as a steel worker was to get you off the streets and prevent you from pillaging and plundering. Because without your steel job, paying you 10 times as much as a Chinese worker would be paid, you'd resort to crime and plunder and pillage, and so to save our society from your crimes we had to provide you with a job at the steel mill, even though it means we have to pay higher prices for steel as a result.


    3. The voters want a better life style.
    How do higher prices for steel mean a better life style? How are we better off by driving up the cost of production so that the price we pay for everything is higher?

    Or maybe you mean that if you and other workers don't get your artificial "jobs" provided by government protection and subsidies to steel and auto etc., you and other workers will go on your rampage of plunder and pillage, causing so much havoc that the general living standard will decline. Is that it? A threat: either give us our artificially-high-cost steel and auto jobs or we'll inflict damage on you to make you worse off.

    It's essentially the same philosophy as that of the Luddites, 200 years ago. Higher prices to consumers to pay for artificial "jobs" to workers we're supposed to feel sorry for and are threatening us with retaliation if we don't pay for these babysitting slots they're entitled to. A shakedown.


    That comes from making more money as a result of higher wages as a result of higher and higher employment.
    What good are the higher wages for a few if it means higher prices for everyone? How do you make us better off by running up the labor cost artificially, as this does, and limiting competition and forcing consumers to pay higher prices without any improvement in the production? How is the production made better by only increasing the labor cost, with no improved performance by the workers paid the higher wages?

    How is the labor performance improved by relocating the production from China to the U.S. and forcing the companies to pay higher labor cost? Where's the improved performance? Where's the increase in either quantity or quality of the production simply by "bringing back the factories" to do it here at higher cost than before?

    It's not "higher and higher employment" which produces wealth, but improved performance or better production to meet the consumer demand. It's not enough to just give more "jobs" to crybabies, to appease them and get them off the streets. It requires them to improve their performance and make the production better than it was before.

    No one has shown how the performance of the Chinese workers is inferior to that of the U.S. workers. All we know is that the U.S. workers cost us 10 times as much for the same work. Otherwise there is no difference. The only "making more money" is the higher cost of the U.S. workers and thus higher prices to 330 million U.S. consumers who have to pay for it but get nothing in return (except your promise to not go on a crime spree).


    This stuff is pretty basic and should be easy to understand Lumpens.
    Yes, extortion and thuggery is pretty basic in economics. Those who are good at spreading delusion and paranoia are able to intimidate society and threaten it with doom if it does not appease their demands. Plus a good dose of China-bashing xenophobia, and employer-bashing. You're right -- it's basic and understandable that you and other special interests have been able to succeed at this intimidation and thuggery inflicted onto 330 million consumers, with the help of your Demagogue Leader whipping up the mindless masses. Plus the help of demagogues on the other side, like Bernie Sanders and Sherrod Brown, etc. Such mindlessness and hysteria is very basic to seizing power and dominating the economy, and so is practiced by both major Parties.


    More employment is always in the best interest of society.
    Even if it's artificial makework "jobs" which cost more than the value they produce and thus cause a lower living standard? This can make sense only if you mean "employment" of rabble who otherwise threaten to go on a rampage of destruction and so which we must put into factory "jobs" (babysitting slots) to keep them out of mischief. Or, because otherwise they will resort to stealing, as you threatened above.

    If that's what you mean, and this is why Trump had to "bring back" your steel job from China, to prevent you from resorting to pillage and plunder, maybe you have a point.
    Last edited by Lumpenproletariat; 08-17-2019 at 05:14 AM.

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    Misplaced compassion ends up making everyone worse off -- even the ones we feel sorry for.

    Quote Originally Posted by Horatio Parker View Post
    Never expect empathy for workers from Lumpenetc. He's immune.
    Don't conflate ALL workers into the same category, as if ALL of them need us to fall all over ourselves feeling sorry for them.

    A significant number of workers are competitive producers in the economy and are not demanding our "empathy" as some kind of entitlement because they are in the wage-earner category rather than the greedy capitalist pig employer class.

    A large number of them are struggling to survive, in the modern global and hi-tech economy. But if we go on a crusade to save the less competitive, with subsidies and corporate welfare and protectionism and employer-bashing and immigrant-bashing, to protect the "jobs" of the less competitive, it comes only at the cost of higher prices to 330 million U.S. consumers, including the poor, and also the many who are competitive and are succeeding in today's economy.

    Punishing all 330 million U.S. consumers is not going to solve the problem of the less competitive ones who are struggling to survive. Just because this punishment to all is inflicted out of "empathy" and feeling sorry for the uncompetitive ones who are struggling does not mean the result will be good for the whole economy. In the long run it's not even good for the ones struggling, but makes most of them worse off too, and thus the vast majority, and the whole nation.

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    Is there a taboo against answering WHY WE NEED "JOB CREATION"?

    Quote Originally Posted by Deepak View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Lumpenproletariat View Post
    The purpose of the economy is not "jobs! jobs! jobs!" but production to serve "CONSUMERS! CONSUMERS! CONSUMERS!"
    So wait, did GM build that plant because they anticipated short term consumer demand, or were they tricked by the Mayor?
    They built it in that location to take advantage of the lower cost. Their costs were reduced by an artificial subsidy from the city. The ones victimized were mainly the taxpayers paying the cost, plus also residents who were expelled from their property. The company wasn't tricked, but gained its subsidy by promising "jobs! jobs! jobs!"


    Perhaps he held a gun to GM's collective heads and forced them to build the plant after bulldozing the neighborhood (with requisite mustache twirling)? This seems like you're arguing for one side of the coin but for the other.
    You've converted me. We do need these factory "jobs" -- in which to put characters like you to keep you out of mischief.


    What was GM's motivation if not to build stuff people want?
    Its motivation for building the plant in that location was obviously to reduce its cost of production, by taking advantage of the subsidy. You're ignoring the important question, which is why the city should offer this subsidy and dislocate so many residents? Why should such a huge cost be paid in order to lure a company and get it to "create jobs"? How are these "jobs" worth such a cost?

    Obviously you are embarrassed to try to answer this question.

    But I'll help you out: Your reason for wanting governments to promote this "job creation" is that you suffer from a paranoid delusion that there are millions of riff-raff job-seekers out there who will go on a crime spree if society does not provide them with factory job slots in which to put them, as babysitting slots to keep them out of mischief, i.e., to head off this rampaging mob of riff-raff you think is threatening our cities.

    If this is not the reason for the "job creation," then what is?

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